• The Iliad of Homer.

The Iliad of Homer.


Item Number: 4616

London: Bernard Lintot, 1715-20.

First edition of Alexander Pope’s monumental illustrated translation of Homer’s Iliad, the suscription edition. Quarto, 6 volumes, uniformly bound in contemporary calf, with gilt titles to the spine and corner ornaments, rebacked to style in brown calf, raised bands. The bookplate in each volume of Sir John C. Hobhouse. John Cam Hobhouse (1786-1869), was Lord Byron’s close friend, literary confidante and executor. Frontispiece portrait of Homer. In very good condition with some of the usual toning. An attractive set.

Encouraged by Swift, Addison and Steele, among others, Pope began translating Homer in 1713. The arduous undertaking would prove to be the most laborious literary enterprise of his life, but one to which he was well-suited. "Idolatry of classical models was an essential part of the religion of men of letters of the day But a Homer in modern English was still wanting. Pope’s rising fame and his familiarity with the literary and social leaders made him the man for the opportunity The ‘Homer’ was long regarded as a masterpiece, and for a century was the source from which clever schoolboys like Byron learnt that Homer was not a mere instrument of torture invented by their masters. No translation of profane literature has ever occupied such a position" (DNB).

Ask a Question